Building a future-facing design system to enable and transform the informal transport sector in Kenya.
BasiGo is an early e-mobility startup that’s shaking up the informal transport sector by offering bus operators with an electric bus model that is more efficient, affordable, and convenient.
In October 2022, BasiGo approached ARK to create a distinct design system for their entire electric bus fleet, allowing them to be noticed by passengers. Taking a collaborative approach, BasiGo wanted to ensure that Saccos participated in this design process, as key stakeholders in Kenya’s transport ecosystem.
We also had the opportunity to refresh BasiGo’s corporate brand identity to re-integrate the larger vision.
To create a comprehensive visual design system for BasiGo, we immersed ourselves in the world of public transportation, locally and globally. We researched the matwana culture, recognizing that while this visual design system was for BasiGo, it had to be inclusive and incorporate the Sacco branding in a large way.
As we explored the possibilities what the future of public transportation would entail, we mapped out Kenya’s current matatu transport ecosystem and how BasiGo would play an integral role in spearheading progress within the sector.
We created a distinct symbol and design system to be branded on the buses, that would become a recognizable depiction for electric transportation in Kenya, not just for BasiGo but for all future electric transport in the country.
After numerous co-creation sessions and design iterations, we finalized the visual design system for the buses, which comprises of three key semiotic elements.
1. The Corner Caps
A simple yet distinctive device that serves as a clear indicator that the bus is electric, depicted at key points visible to passengers at the front and back.
2. The “Sausage“ (we really do love our breakfast😅)
Represents the unity between the GO category and participating Saccos, bringing organization and structure to an otherwise unstandardised way in which the sector typically operates.
3. The Battery
An iconic graphic that portrays the electric fuel source in a widely recognizable manner, also highlighting a component of the business model, in which BasiGo provides, charges and services the battery.
This resulted in a seamless yet distinct design system that allows Saccos to continue operating their fleets and brand the buses as they wish, while clearly highlighting which of them were electric.
We also refreshed BasiGo’s corporate brand identity, to establish a cohesive connection between the corporate brand and the GO category, by incorporating the same mark used in the GO category.
This year, BasiGo acquired 15 additional buses and has partnered with more Saccos to continue its mission to support the informal transport sector, and help shape the future of public transportation in Kenya.
Looking at the current state of the matatu culture and how it runs, there is a lot of disorganization that leaves room for corruption. To make this ecosystem more convenient and easy. BasiGo has created a booking app to allow customers to book a seat in a bus ahead of time. This app will be beneficial for the saccos to track their buses and have a clear view of their revenue.
The name for the booking app needed to be unique, short and easy to pronounce. We had a couple of sessions to develop a name and we settled on the name “Jani”, derived from the Swahili word for “leaf” that speaks into the sustainability focus that BasiGo aims to emphasize, while also evoking the notion of a “journey” in English.